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By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON — Former major league baseball player Doug Flynn can still remember meeting Jacob Tamme for the first time.
“You could tell he was someone special from the first time I met him,” said Flynn, a Lexington native. “The first time I called him (to help with something), it was not why. It was what time do you want me to be there. That’s impressive.”
It’s also why Flynn felt honored that Tamme, a Boyle County native now playing with the Denver Broncos, was named the Doug Flynn Kentucky First Award and was recognized during a fundraising event for Score International, which helps over 5,000 Americans each year travel on mission trips, Sunday night in Lexington.
Flynn noted that Tamme went 58-2 as a football player at Boyle County, is the all-time receiving leader for Kentucky tight ends, was a two-time all-Southeastern Conference performer at UK, and won the SEC Scholar-Athlete and Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bobby Bowden awards in 2007.
However, what earned Tamme — who was playing Sunday and could not attend the function at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association — the award was the work that he does with veterans. Tamme and his wife host “Swing for Soldiers,” a summer golf classic that raises money to build new homes for military personnel injured while on duty.
“That’s a really cool thing they do,” Flynn said. “But he’s a cool guy. When (quarterback) Peyton Manning went from Indianapolis to Denver, he made sure he got to bring Tamme with him because he knew he was somebody reliable that you could count on.”
Tamme’s brother, Seth, and sister, Sarah, accepted the award for him since their parents were also in Denver to watch Tamme and the Broncos play.
“It’s really an honor to accept for him,” Seth Tamme said.
He noted that his brother would have been “honored” to hear about the mission work in the Dominican Republic that Score International national director of baseball Keith Madison has done with volunteers in recent years.
“Awards are only as good as the people giving them to you. We will make sure he (Jacob) knows how special this award is,” Seth Tamme said.
Jacob Tamme made a video that was played at the dinner since he could not be in Lexington.
“I wish I could have been there. It will always be Kentucky first for us,” Jacob Tamme said.
The former UK star said that when he and his wife decided to start the golf outing, they debated having it in Indianapolis since he was playing for the Colts and knew he would have substantial support.
“But we wanted to come back to Lexington because that has always been home for us,” Jacob Tamme said. “We wanted to do something special to support our troops.
“It’s a real honor for me to be mentioned with Doug Flynn (who received the initial award in 2012 when it was named for him). It’s always kind of awkward to get something like this because you should not be rewarded for giving back. That’s something you should do. I hope we can do even more going forward.
“It’s a great thing coach Madison is doing with Score International spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in the Dominican Republic. Getting this award means a lot to me.”
It meant a lot to Flynn to give it to him, too.
“Some people are just special, and he’s one of them,” Flynn said. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this than him and it makes me proud to know an award with my name on it is going to someone like Jacob Tamme.”